Tummy tuck surgery or Abdominoplasty – the medical term for this procedure – is an operation that flattens the abdomen by way of removal of excess skin and fat, and the tightening of the muscles in the abdominal wall.
A tummy tuck can be ideal for a number of individuals for a number of reasons. These reasons can include the after-effects of pregnancy, ageing or extreme weight loss. Any of these can cause skin in the tummy area to become weak and lose its elasticity, leaving excess skin to sag and look unattractive.
Toning the body using exercise is a sensible and necessary component of any body sculpting and or general fitness regime. Unfortunately however, if excess and sagging skin exists then in order to have it removed it will be necessary to seek the help of a professional such as a plastic surgeon. A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty will be required in order to achieve a flat, sag free, smooth abdominal area.
Due to the increase in obesity amongst the population, there has also been an increase in the number of individuals who have firstly gained a lot of weight and then lose that weight, leaving them with sagging excess skin. This sagging skin requires a tummy tuck in order to achieve a satisfactory look. A tummy tuck is designed to tighten the muscle wall and the skin so that they fit you snuggly. As with any procedure, the best and safest results are achieved if the patient is within their healthy weight range.
Having tummy tuck surgery is extremely common and is performed all over the world. It is also increasingly common to combine tummy tuck surgery with another plastic surgery such as liposuction or breast surgery. Tummy tuck procedures are also undergone by many men; again, often performed in conjunction with other surgeries such as pectoral implants or chest reduction procedures.
Tummy tuck surgery roughly takes around two hours and is completed under a general anaesthetic. It is a reasonably serious procedure and requires some research and consideration. Generally you can expect to stay in hospital for two or three nights followed by at least 10 days rest at home. Prior to the procedure, the surgeon will request a consultation, which is where the surgeon will look at your abdominal area and mark the areas with a pen where they will remove the skin. The plastic surgeon will also go through where the scars will be in order for you to be prepared. In this consultation, you will decide which areas of the abdomen needs more work than others and go through how much skin needs to be removed in order to achieve the desired results.
Upon arrival to the clinic and before the procedure you will be required to have a blood test and some other regular tests to ensure that it is safe for you to have a general anaesthetic. The surgeon will then go through the procedure again to make sure you are clear and happy with what needs to be done. The surgeon will then discuss with you all of the risks that can occur whilst you are under the general anaesthetic.
Once you are under anaesthetic, the surgeon will make an incision across the base of the abdomen, from one hip to the other in order to remove the overstretched skin. The muscle under the skin will also be repaired with permanent stitches that are not visible. The reason for repairing the muscle under the skin is to create a foundation of tight, repositioned muscle for the skin to stretch over. The surgeon will then stitch along the original incision line and remove the excess skin.
Generally modern day surgery is considered safe. Approximately one-third of patients who receive an anaesthetic during surgery will experience “anaesthesia sickness” or post-operative nausea and vomiting (POVN).
There are risks and complications associated with all surgeries. There are also risks involved for undergoing a general anaesthetic and these can include; suppressed breathing, deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in leg), blood clot in lung respiratory complications, heart problems, heart failure and even death.
The risks and complications associated with the tummy tuck surgery can include:
Infection is a risk that can affect patients who have just had tummy tuck surgery. Also, as a preventative measure, most tummy tuck patients require a drain to be inserted in order to prevent a seroma from forming which is a collection of fluid around the wound which can cause pain and possibly infection.
Haematoma is another complication that can form after the surgery and can result in the blood having to be drained. The majority of bruising will calm down after a period of time.
Another risk and complication is pain, as the surgery is extremely invasive this can result in pain, the surgeon will prescribe the relative painkillers to help.
Q. Is there any swelling after the surgery?
A. Yes, it is completely normal to experience some swelling after the surgery. This is a sign of the body trying to heal itself. This can obscure what you see after the surgery, as it will look like the tummy tuck has made little difference. Over a short period of time, the swelling will go down and you will start seeing the benefits of the tummy tuck.
Q. How long will the tummy tuck last for?
A. The tummy tuck will last for many years. However, if you do get pregnant or have an excessive weight gain, this can cause the skin to stretch out again and therefore will require another tummy tuck. However, if this does not happen, then the affects of the tummy tuck are relatively permanent.
Q. How long should I take off work?
A. The recovery process is relative to the individual however, the time usually required to take off work will be between two to three weeks. However, for some individuals the healing process can take longer with some patients requiring more than a month off work.
As with almost any plastic surgery, the cost depends on the surgeon and hospital you choose. It can also vary depending on the amount of hours the surgeon anticipates your particular surgery to take. Make sure you ask your surgeon if his cost estimate includes the hospital stay, anaesthetist and any pre and post surgery appointments and care.
Approximately $6,000 to $16,000